How a simple office plant can increase your productivity and happiness

It’s been a long Canadian winter, but signs of spring are everywhere — with national mood-lifting effects.

To amplify the productivity boost that comes from the seasonal change, put some flowers on your desk.

A recent study from Texas A&M University found that having flowers and greenery around positively affected employees’ ability to generate ideas and problem-solve at work.

Head researcher Roger Ulrich and his team found that employees were able to generate 15 per cent more ideas and come up with a greater supply of flexible solutions to problems when they shared their workspace with flowers.

Feel-better flowers

Beyond ideation, flowers at work have a significant and positive effect on your health and well-being, say researchers.

Having fresh blooms on your desk can lower your anxiety, combat depression, reduce negative thinking, and may even have a positive impact on memory. Some studies show that surrounding yourself with indoor plants can help reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by up to 30 per cent — which translates into increased productivity, fewer sick days, and cost savings for employers.

Scientists at the University of Exeter studying the links between flowers and creativity found that adding office plants to workspaces resulted in a 47 per cent boost to staff well-being and a 45 per cent increase in their ability to be creative.

Virtual nature

Breaking up your workday for a walk outside delivers an amazing mood uplift and psychological refresh.

Likewise, studies show that exposure to simulated nature scenes can also have a positive impact on your productivity and mood. Slate has reported psychological research by Deltcho Valtchanov in which he placed participants in a virtual reality space filled with simulated trees, flowers, plants, grass and they experienced higher levels of happiness, friendliness, affection, and playfulness.

If that convinces you to swap your desktop wallpaper for images of flowers and leaves, head over to Nature Wallpaper for some stunning free downloads optimized for mobile, desktop screens, or social profiles.

Blossoming at work

Gadgets aside, science provides proof of the restorative potential of nature and the mood boost that comes from a “living” work environment.

Dialling up the leafy factor of your workspace and increasing the green time in your workday is not only good for your mental health, but also contributes to more focused work performance and increased job satisfaction.

This article is excerpted from Sidneyeve Matrix’s professional development course in personal branding with social media, offered online at Queen’s University.

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